At Stonehaven Sheriff Court, Aberdeenshire, Day 1 of the resumption of Robert’s Trial on Breach-of-the-Peace charges, joining the previous line-up of Sheriff Principal Bowen, Procurator Fiscal for Edinburgh and Prosecutor for the Crown, Stephen McGowan aided by Anne Currie, Procurator Fiscal for Aberdeen, was a new Counsel for the Defence, Andy Lamb assisted by Lili Prais, instructed by Solicitor Patrick Campbell. Some 5 out of the 61 witnesses for the prosecution (and their driver) were also spotted going into the building. All had to run the gauntlet of the crowd of Green’s supporters who had braved the sub-zero temperatures to stand outside the courthouse and welcome participants with clicking cameras, placards and a ‘Scotland’s Shame’ banner. Catching sight of the battery of cameras, Sheriff Bowen tried to hide his face behind his briefcase as he entered the courthouse.
Robert got things off to a flying start by asking first McGowan, then the Sheriff if they were Freemasons? He cannily popped this question before responding to the Clerk’s opening question, are you George Robert Green? confirmation of which would have doubtless resulted in the Freemason issue being dismissed out of hand, so it was now or never, as Robert explained afterwards. Besides, he wanted to put the Freemasons in the frame right at the outset, this being not just a case about the rape and torture of children, but as he told the court, ever since April 2010 when during the course of an Interim Diet he had spotted a document with the Masonic insignia passing between McGowan and Sheriff Patrick Davies he had been disturbed by this possible element in the case. Up till then he had been of the opinion that the case was not connected with Freemasonry. So why were the Prosecution using this to influence the Sheriff? A question that remains unanswered to this moment.
Again, as Robert explained afterwards, his raising this issue was by no means to discredit Freemasons in general, which would be unfair, but merely to question if there was some undue Masonic influence in the proceedings being brought against him and the manner in which they were being conducted. There was now the new question of a mysterious tie-up between his previous Counsel Frances McMenamin and the reporter from the Scottish Sun, who seemed to be ‘in the know’, to use a Freemasonic metaphor, about what was to transpire in Stonehaven Court on 15th November 2011. If it became clear from the evidence coming out of this case that Freemasonry was harbouring within its ranks rogue elements who are protecting paedophiles and abusing their public position in the process, then that would obviously be a matter of concern to all who are members of this organisation which, at a certain level anyway, prides itself on its moral standards. Quite apart from the fact it would indicate that there could be a collusion between the Bench and the Prosecution which would constitute a conflict of interests.
This was then the reason why Robert asked the question, in the interests of justice being seen to be done, and had the Sheriff answered in the affirmative he would have asked him to recuse himself.
McGowan, whom we have never seen looking anything but discomforted in his thankless role of Prosecutor for the Crown, after the briefest of pauses for reflection and looking down at the floor, answered “no I am not”. The Sheriff himself tetchily told Robert he did not intend to answer the question. Whereupon Robert confirmed to the Clerk, “yes, I am George Robert Green” and the hearing began.
Whether or not they had been prepared for this opening salvo, Anne Currie for the Prosecution was certainly ready to deal with the issue of the citation of Elish Angiolini. She attempted to dismiss that first-off, indicating that as the former Lord Advocate was not amongst those who have been offended by Robert’s allegations/named as Hollie’s abusers, she had nothing to do with the case. At which there were gasps of incredulity from the public gallery and one loud chortle, the perpetrator of which was summarily removed from the chamber.
It will be remembered that Currie has come unstuck over the witnesses and is currently under investigation over an attempt to mislead the court. Robert has by now seen the statements of the 61 who include members of the justice service, including Peter Watson of Levy & McCrae, as well as friends and neighbours of those named by Hollie as her former abusers. Many of these people were previously described by Currie on 13th April 2011 as ‘traumatised’. This would have placed them in the vulnerable witness category, requiring accompanying medical reports, yet these are conspicuously absent. In fact not even Peter Watson would seem to have been ‘traumatised’ by the course of events, despite the additional pressures on him of the Stephen Purcell case.
Without going into the vapidity of Currie’s argument, Andy Lamb suggested to the Sheriff that the Prosecution’s evidence needed to be heard before any decision regarding the former Lord Advocate’s attendance or otherwise was taken. And surprisingly, the Sheriff concurred!
Lamb then went on to point out to the Sheriff that as he had only just arrived on the case and had in fact only met Robert in person for the first time that previous evening, he had not had sufficient time to prepare the defence and requested an adjournment for the rest of the day.
Again, Sheriff Bowen was disposed to be amenable, but cautioned Lamb that if he let him off for the rest of the day, he did not expect him to use the time and then walk off the case! as had happened on the previous occasion. He wanted everyone back in court ready to go at 10 am sharp the following morning.
Thus proceedings on Day 1 terminated shortly before 11 am and everyone could enjoy the by then brilliant sunshine and a breath of sea air.
Best of all, Angiolini cannot yet sleep easy in her bed.